River of Words

Rating: 5 stars   21 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Environment, Water

Location: 933 Parker Street Studio #38 Berkeley CA 94710 USA

Mission:

River of Words (ROW) is aninterdisciplinary environmental poetry and art program that promotes literacy,the arts and environmental stewardship. River of Words is designed tonurture respect for and understanding of the natural world, to promote literacyin all its forms, and to build community partnerships. The organization aims tofoster place-based, local, interdisciplinary, hands-on education by promotinglocal knowledge of watersheds and the cultures they create; cultivating a senseof connection to place; encouraging action and imagination in young people; helpingthem acquire skills and practice in creating art and poetry; acknowledgingtheir creativity and concerns; and helping them to give back to their local,national and international communities through dissemination of their poetryand art. 


Results: In 15 years, we have trained thousands of educators in ways to incorporate nature exploration and the arts into their work with young people. We have nurtured tens of thousands of young people in kindergarten through 12th grade with curricula, publications, events, exhibitions, etc., helping them to become keen observers of the world around them, and giving them tools for creative expression of their observations. In 2004, River of Words was honored as one of the 100 most effective organizations in the country with an Innovations in Government Award from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Target demographics: We seek to serve the world’s children and their teachers, particularly those with few resources.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 300 teachers trained by River of Words national headquarters staff, another 300-600 trained by our 30 state coordinators. 20,000+ student participants in our free annual poetry and art contest. 200-600 students participating in classroom workshops.
Geographic areas served: International
Programs: Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of WATERSHEDS. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover.
2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-3378001
510-548-7636
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The River of Words curriculum is inspirational to students, who get to experience nature in a less structured and more personal way than many lessons, and to teachers who get to be children again and open their eyes to wonder. The entire program makes a huge difference by reminding people of the beauty of nature and the diverse ways in which people experience that beauty.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Even though I was in the instructor role in the workshops offered, I myself was inspired by seeing the world through teacher and student eyes.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Mother Nature is our first and best teacher. She is not concerned with test scores or the latest fad in education. She is honest and authentic. River of Words, through their poetry and art initiatives, provides the platform for educators the world over to provide authentic education to their students. The arts are the most human endeavor we can engage in and education should be about developing humans not test takers. Helping our students discover that poetry hides everywhere from the whisper of the wind to the crevices etched by time and to be incite awe in Mother Natures's beauty is what River of Words is all about.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way my students interact with nature. Their keen observations and interactions with nature while on summer holiday tell me that they have dived into the River of Words and immersed themselves in its lessons.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the validation of my young poets and the opportunity to for them to meet other students who share their passion for poetry and nature.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, enthusiastic, and fueled by their love of nature, words, and children.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

impact the education system that seems to have forgotten that the purpose of education is not to create test takers but to nurture human beings.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I'm so inspired by the creative and insighful poetry and art submitted to River of Words, year after year, from children around the world. This small organization does wonders encouraging kids to express their connection with water and nature.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the River of Words annual exhibits of art and poetry. Hearing the young award-winning poets read their work, it's clear that the program empowers students to creatively explore and share their prespectives on water and nature.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Not for profit organizations are all about people, and ROW staff are at the top of their profession in caring about their mission and teaching the next generation environmental literacy. As a poet myself who has attended events at which ROW student poets read their work, I am impressed by their bravery and commitment, and strength which derives from the curriculum and the heartful nature of that curriculum.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing the positive impact the organization has on student poets, in enabling their voices and providing a constructive forum for self expression.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

In researching watershed environments as preparation for their paintings & drawings, my students developed an awareness of how we need to care for these places. The students demonstrated genuine engagement in their new appreciation of the valuable resources these environments provide.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I learned more about my personal responsibility in protecting and maintaining our watershed environments.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I've enjoyed sharing my students' passion for communicating their appreciation of our watershed environments.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

River of Words helps me inspire my children -- after I am inspired. Guidance and poems are thought provoking. After family discussions about the environment, and then poetry, and how the two are combined, my children work on thoughtful poems.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

After reading submissions and accomplishments, I share with my children. The conversations and then work we do together is valuableto their development. Once, I printed a winning poem and took it with my family to a Poetry Slam, where it was well received

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The artwork produced by children all over the world, some in very challenging circumstances, is an inspiration to all. It is of very high standard and shows great awareness of both the beauty of the environment and the problems which need to be addressed.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Art shows that I have attended in their gallery space. They are always inspiring.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

intelligent and wonderful people

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand and in addition pay for fund children in dire circumstances submit their artwork to the competition.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

River of Words is the ideal in promoting water education. We used their resources as examples for our local teachers to help them brainstorm ideas of their own and bring the love of water into their classrooms.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

education.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

My son was a student at the Greenwood school from 2000-2004. The River of Words philosophy and programs really inspired my son. He is now a junior at Hampshire college creating his own major focusing on how to create meaningful art that can help educate the general public about environmental and social justice issues. He is intending to create an after school ROW program this year through his college( in Amherst, MA) for local younger students

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

see above

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get the word out more!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

inspiration

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

wonderful!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help save the planet!

Ways to make it better...

more children would receive awards

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2005-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Teachers respond to ROW as a way to help them teach environmental education topics and environmental sensitivity in the classroom. ROW gives us an opportunity to combine science with the arts by giving students the chance to express their thoughts and feelings about their watersheds and related science topics. They can increase their sense of place through creating art and poetry of their home. Students respond to ROW because it's FUN and gives them a chance to show their talents and learn more about art and poetry. In this time of reduced school art programs and lack of environmental education, ROW provides a way to allow students to learn and grow in both.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

educating youth and adults in the importance of environmental sensitivity, water resources, and the arts.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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